Aztec Tribe - Straight From Tha Zone
There are a few albums that I would consider the soundtrack to my high school years: "It's On" (Dr. Dre), "The Chronic", but on the underground scene "Fully Strapped", Born Without A Konscience and last but definitely not least "Straight From Tha Zone".
Let me start off with how fun "Straight From Tha Zone" is to listen. There is a lot of chemistry between Madman and the the 5 other members that you not only hear but can sense from the dynamic energy heard on each verse. Though, if you're into historic accuracy and portrayal then you'll find some irregularities with some stuff here and there regarding the themes or lyrical content, like the use of a tomahawk or a battle ax (in Mesoamerican civilizations it's the macuahuitli) or the Indian chanting you hear in the intro. We get to hear Mr. Lil One speak in the intro briefly before the beat drops and with a loud thump begins "Commin' In Stalkin'".
I must have been 15 or 16 when I first heard this song, and I was instantly hooked. Almost positive this was the first song I had heard by them back when LimeWire was the place to download all your content. It would be many years later before I found a complete download and many more years before I finally copped a physical copy. Right away, you get drawn into the rhythmic flows of "Everybody Bounce" which I dare say is the one song everybody loves. The samples are synchronized and blend together in what naturally sounds like one single sound. I'd say this emphasizes the genius behind the production of the record.
Moving on further into the album, I've always got the impression that that "Something For The Homies" and "Rollin' In My Ride" were so similar, maybe it was recorded in the same session, because the energy spills over from one song into the other. The songs are well put, makes the entire record sound balanced. The interlude makes you appreciate Madman's versatility to sample music of different genres.
The setup for the track list is well thought out, too. The way "Step Into Tha Hood" is followed by "Straight From Tha Zone" is dope, you almost feel like these two songs were also recorded in the same take. I loved Ice Cube's sample of "eses deep don't fuck with them boys" on "Step Into Tha Hood". When I first heard "Straight From Tha Zone" I was hoping it was a remix of "Diego Town", the way the intro was alluding to it.
You can tell they had fun in the recording process of "Do Ya Wanna Funk", it's an upbeat party oriented jam. In the final quarter of the album, we get to hear the album wrapped up nicely, "T.R.I.B.E" has become one of my favorite tracks off the album for the way that the first verse is executed. The remix to "Coming In Stalking" (labeled "Caught Slippin'") is dope, often makes me wonder if they had other remixes planned for their other popular tracks. The shootouts in the outro are a hilarious, profanity laced way to close out the album.
It all boils down to the facts that Hip-Hop, Gangster Rap and Chicano Rap can be congruent. One can only wonder why the individual group members, as gifted as they were, didn't pursue individual careers as solo artists.
01. Tribal Ceremony
02. Commin' In Stalkin'
03. Everybody Bounce (feat. Lil' One)
04. Something For The Homies
05. Madman (Interlude)
06. Step Into Tha Hood
07. Straight From Tha Zone
08. Rollin' In My Ride
09. Do Ya Wanna Funk
10. T.R.I.B.E (It's A Tribe Thang)
11. Caught Slippin' [G FUNK REMIX]
12. Tribal Shouts